Honor Flag flown in for tribute to fallen trooper

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Honor Flag flies across the country as a symbol in tribute to those killed in the line of duty.

Today, it visited east Tennessee to comfort the family of Trooper Michael Slagle. He died on Friday when his patrol car slid off the road during the ice storm.

"The flag and what it represents, is all about what Trooper Slagle is and what he was. What he is to us and still remember him," said Sgt. Randall Martin from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Water cannons welcomed the American Eagle Airlines plane as it taxied at McGhee Tyson Airport.

It was a regular flight, but carrying something meaningful on board.

The Honor Flag was first dedicated to first responders killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001. Now, it is a tribute to the brave men and women who have died in the line of duty.

"It doesn't matter what badge you have, or what patch you wear on your shoulder. It matters what you do every day, what you represent," said Sgt. Martin.

Trooper Michael Slagle wore the Tennessee Highway Patrol badge, and his grieving brothers and sisters escorted the flag out of the airport in his honor.

"Right now, him and his family are in our foremost thoughts and prayers, and our daily activities," said Sgt. Martin. "I think to all of us, even as an individual agency, we realize that this time, is a time for brotherhood, amongst us all."

Not only was he a protector of the community, he was a friend to many.

"He's affected a large number of people in his short time of 26 years on the job. It'll be time on down the road before we actually step back and evaluate everything," said Sgt. Martin.

The Honor Flag is now with his family, who will hold it close to their hearts as they say goodbye.

Visitation for Trooper Slagle is on Tuesday at Berry Funeral Home from 4:30-7:00, with funeral services afterwards.

The burial is Wednesday.

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